Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

UC Davis Converts Waste Into Clean Energy With Nation's Largest Campus Biodigester

Trash isn't simply trash at the University of California, Davis, it's an important tool to create on clean energy.

The waste-to-power conversion takes place in a large, white tanks on campus, together known as the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ). UC Davis unveiled the biodigester on Earth Day. Using UC Davis biological and agricultural engineering professor Ruihong Zhang's technology, the university collaborated with Gold River, CA-based CleanWorld to bring it to a commercial scale.

It's the nation's largest anaerobic biodigester on a college campus.

“It has been the thrust of my research to bring the innovations we made possible at UC Davis to commercial scale,” said Zhang, who began working on a way to create energy from organic waste more than a decade ago.

“This technology can change the way we manage our solid waste. It will allow us to be more economically and environmentally sustainable. I am proud and grateful to be a part of the team who helped make this moment a reality." 

The biodigester is located at campus' now-closed landfill. The system uses generators to convert 50 tons of organic waste to 12,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable electricity each day, diverting 20,000 tons of waste from local landfills each year. It is the third commercial biodigester CleanWorld has opened using Zhang’s technology. Zhang serves as the chief technology advisor for CleanWorld.

Inside these tanks on the UC Davis campus, organic waste is converted into clean energy. Photo credit: UC Davis.

Inside the oxygen-deprived tanks, bacterial microbes convert the university's food and yard waste into clean energy that feeds the campus electrical grid. The biodigester creates 5.6 million kWh per year of electricity. It is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13,500 tons per year. Making use of the former landfill location, the process uses the methane created from the waste to help convert the waste into renewable energy.

“The biodigester is the latest chapter in UC Davis’ world-renowned legacy of environmental sustainability,” said Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor of UC Davis.

“This project stands as a model public-private partnership and demonstrates what can be achieved when research universities and private industry collaborate to address society’s most pressing challenges.”

 

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

UC Davis and Honda Unveil Smart Home For a Zero-Carbon Future

How One NFL Team Will Turn Food Waste Into Renewable Energy

Incinerating Trash is a Waste of Resources

——– 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less

"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons. Curtis Palmer / CC by 2.0

By Ashutosh Pandey

Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A women walks with COVID-19 care kits distributed by Boston's Office of Neighborhood Services in Boston, Massachusetts on May 28, 2020. The pandemic has led to a rise in single-use plastic items, but reusable bags and cloth masks can be two ways to reduce waste. JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images

This month is Plastic Free July, the 31 days every year when millions of people pledge to give up single-use plastics.

Read More Show Less